Blog comments and articles

I’ve received lots of interesting comments on my recent posts about cryonics, for which many thanks. However, what I’m really hoping to provoke is something more: actual blog posts and other articles. In this regard, though I think it has many shortcomings, I’m grateful for the work that David Gerard has put into the RationalWiki article on cryonics.

This may seem like an arbitrary distinction; both are forms of writing that can help come to an informed decision, and ignoring someone’s writing on the sole grounds that it’s in the form of a blog comment could be a big mistake. However, for these purposes there are several advantages to articles/blog posts that make them much more useful for this project.

First, articles are meant to stand alone. A blog comment has an implicit context and assumes that the reader is familiar with it. Where an article needs context, it explains and links to the context as needed. This makes it easier to link to and more useful to the recipient.

Second, more work generally goes into articles. Every one of the posts to this blog, even the one that just lists statements from the Society for Cryobiology, has had more work put into it than all but a tiny fraction of my blog comments. That’s all work that’s meant to make the reading experience smoother and the argument clearer and easier.

Thirdly, more pride goes into articles. This is closely related and a little vaguer, but at least speaking for myself I’m often happy to dash off a blog post voicing my best guess at an opinion on something based on only the briefest understanding of the subject area. But an article in general will have a larger readership, and is I think more representative of what I think; much more care will go into trying to say only what I’m prepared to try and defend.

If all you’re trying to do is convince me, you probably don’t need to worry about any of that, and indeed I’m grateful for the work you’ve done so far. But I’m hoping to encourage more than this: I want to bring into being what I was looking for when I started this mission, not only so that I can read it but so that future others in the same position can do likewise. And if you think, as many seem to, that I’m already too hopelessly lost to motivated cognition to be turned around on this issue, then it is them rather than me you should really have in mind when you think about applying finger to keyboard to address this issue. Your comments on blog posts like these may help them a little, but if you’re able to find the time to write them, articles and blog posts of your own will help a lot more.

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20.02.2010 14:25 Paul Crowley's Blog - David Matthewman on the Whole Brain Emulation roadmap
he time to rewrite it in article form any time soon, so with his permission I’m posting it as is.


16.02.2010 23:34 David Gerard

More contribution needed to that article, by the way — I’m entirely unhappy that most of the text is by me. Luke Parrish has shown up and is participating on the talk page.

17.02.2010 4:36 Luke Parrish

I’ve added some text to the main article. Trying to balance things out without negating the skeptical tone.

17.02.2010 15:43 Paul Crowley

As I said on the talk page, I think you’d have to divert a river through that article to get it into a state where a cryonics advocate could usefully contribute. The “snarky point of view” philosophy of RationalWiki rules out useful collaboration, and seems to discourage genuine pride in your work, as evinced by the way that when forced to back down from one lurid accusation against cryonics organisations, you seem to move straight on to the next with no sense of discovery or shame. However, I hope that the work on the article feeds into edits to the Wikipedia article, where NPOV fosters a much more effective cooperation.

23.02.2010 0:02 Luke Parrish

I am starting to agree with this analysis.

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